A Project Management Mystery Solved
By James Young
Executive Summary: Do not assume that your company’s management or the project stakeholders have a firm grasp on the methods and procedures of Project Management. It may be that they don’t know what they don’t know about the methods and procedures. Be prepared to develop Project Execution Plan (PEP) even if it is not thought to be relevant. It is relevant in all cases.
The mystery is one that’s confounded me for years. I only recently discovered what the like explanation maybe, and it’s not directly related to Project Management. My blog topics are usually based on a past situation where I violated one of the tenants of the Tao of Project Management, and the resulting chaos that resulted on specific projects. Four projects fell into this category in recent years and I saw these mangy dogs coming towards me, but I let them in the door anyway. Read the Complete Article
Be Careful Which Projects You Agree to Manage
By James Young
I am bewildered when I encounter organizations wherein projects are created or bids won and then assigned to a Project Manager who has no prior knowledge of the project. Why would a Project Manager accept the responsibility for a project that he/she did not participate in developing? I’ve never witnessed a case under this circumstance where the Project Manager was “offered” a project and given the opportunity to evaluate the scope, cost and schedule before making a decision as to whether he/she would take the project on. I call these “mangy dogs looking for a home” projects.
In other circumstances, you may be a participant in the proposal team and be involved in the detail of the bid preparation and baseline schedule only to see the budget and schedule whacked before the contract is signed. The “whacking” is sometimes done internally by the marketing team with support of management in the pretext of a pricing strategy – a loss leader. Read the Complete Article
10 Things Successful Project Managers Never Tolerate
By Harry Hall
Project managers are not just managers. They’re leaders. Project managers shape and influence their project culture for good or bad.
Tolerance can be a great trait. However, project managers must be deliberate in what we will tolerate and what we will not tolerate. Project managers must refuse to tolerate things that cause disorder, degradation, and uncertainty.
As leaders, we must first walk the talk. Before addressing the intolerable things of others, let’s first make sure we’re living up to that standard…lead with integrity. Here are a few things that I find intolerable in myself and my projects.
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- Poor communications. George Bernard Shaw said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Communication – the human connection – is the key to project success. Project managers must be intentional about creating an environment where team members and stakeholders willingly share and listen to one another.
Bedside Manner and the Project Manager
By Lonnie Pacelli
So we’ve all been to the doctor. We know the feeling of getting marched into a sterile examination room, given a gown that only covers the front half of your body, asked to step on a scale, prodded with a thermometer, asked to pee in a cup. Then there’s what seems like an eternity of sitting on an examination table with your hind quarters hanging out waiting for the doctor to come in the room. Then after what seems like an eternity the door bursts open and the doctor pronounces, “Hello, I’m Dr. Goofleblat… ”
For me the experience from that point forward goes either one of two ways. Dr. Goofleblat either wigs me out with an impatient, impersonal and indifferent attitude or Dr. Goofleblat treats me with an empathetic, caring attitude. Doctors who possess the empathic and caring attitudes are typically known to possess good bedside manner. Read the Complete Article
What Challenges Will Project Managers Face a Decade from Now?
By Kiron D. Bondale
The hurdles which today’s project managers face are likely to be replaced by new threats over time. For example, when the profession first started to be formalized, the tools weren’t available to facilitate highly virtual projects and hence the advantages and disadvantages of those types of projects weren’t realized.
Improvements in virtual reality technologies, near zero communication latency, increased global literary, self-serve professional development and crowdsourcing becoming commonplace should help to reduce the impact of human resource constraints on knowledge-based projects.
However, sustainable practices are gaining greater importance and this is only likely to accelerate if we hope to have a habitable planet beyond the next fifty years. Companies and, by association, projects will be challenged for their carbon, electrical and water-usage footprints. It is not inconceivable to imagine the introduction of a tiered resource tax tied to the scale or complexity of a project. Read the Complete Article
Who Killed Project Management? A Baker’s Dozen of Project Management Do’s and Don’ts
By Rebecca Staton-Reinstein
Being a Project Manager is not for the faint of heart. If you don’t enjoy nearly impossible challenges, lots of criticism, the ground constantly shifting under your feet, and contradictory demands from powerful people, consider another way to make a living.
When downsizing/re-sizing/right-sizing became the norm, companies eliminated whole departments of folks who took care of all sorts of important work. The work still needed doing and outsourcing/off-shoring/on-shoring/in-sourcing didn’t always work.
What to do? Turn everything into a project! Assign someone to be in charge and call the person a project manager. It didn’t matter what the person’s position on the org chart was or whether he or she had any training or experience; just assign the project.
Needless to say, lots of projects took a nose dive. Even with all the information available today, sophisticated project management tools, and organizations, conferences, and books dedicated to the subject, many projects and their mangers still fail. Read the Complete Article
What Superpower Do You Wish You Have as a Project Manager?
By Kiron D. Bondale
Project managers are often asked to perform miracles, so they can be forgiven for occasionally wishing for magical powers to be able to bend or break the laws of the Universe. After all, that’s what sponsors must believe them capable of doing when they demand scope, schedule & cost constraints in advance of sufficient planning!
Let’s imagine that between project assignments, you are taking a vacation in a tropical destination. While walking on the beach, you stumble over what appears to be an ancient brass lamp. You rub the sand off it and lo and behold, a genie appears in a puff of smoke! As a reward for releasing him, he offers to bestow one super power on you.
Which will you choose?
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What Happens When Success is Your Only Option
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, Founder, Cheetah Learning
When you run a small business, as small as even just yourself, does failure ever really occur? I hear often in the media about this or that business being “too big to fail” – but in reality isn’t it more like “Too Small to Fail?” I ask this question of myself, more rhetorically than anything. I’ve been running a small business in one form or another for almost 30 years now. Yes, I’ve stopped offering some services and stopped making some products, and at one point in time, I did take a job with a paycheck – but even then I still had a small business going on the side. I realized after almost a decade of being in business that failure was just a perspective, especially in a world where everything changes.
Most ideas go through thousands if not millions of iterations. Read the Complete Article
Read Me a Story
By Kerry Wills
When I was a little boy I enjoyed when my father would read a story to me before going to bed. Now that I am much older I don’t need someone to read them to me and yet many presentations are just that – people showing slides and then reading them word-by-word to the audience. I think we can safely assume that (most) professionals are literate and therefore we don’t need to read materials to them.
In my view, successful presentations are made up of two things…
If the materials are created well then the presenter can focus on the key messages and engage the audience. But, please don’t read to us…unless you also plan to tuck us in so we can sleep. Read the Complete Article
Is There Anything Wrong with an Alpha Project Manager?
By Kiron D. Bondale
Multiple articles have been written about the evils of being a weak project manager. The unwillingness of such individuals to challenge poor decisions, to confront unhealthy conflict, or to shield their team members from unnecessary interference impacts team morale, forces other stakeholders to step in to keep projects on track and reduces the overall value derived from the projects managed by such project managers.
When we witness such challenges, it is tempting to think that there’s no ceiling on how strong a project manager should be. But is that a valid assertion? Is there anything wrong with being an alpha project manager?
Let’s start with projectized organizations. Are there any impacts of a strong project manager doing their utmost to secure and sustain funding for their project in such a company – sounds like just what they should be doing, right? Read the Complete Article